Proposed 'mass customisation' in education reform needs explaining

Monday, May 14, 2018

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Dear Editor,

A representative of the Ministry of Education said recently that there is an intention to reform Jamaica's education system to that of “mass customisation” rather than continuing the generalised education approach. However, the topic was spoken about from the perspective of goods, services, and “customers”, so the concept was not understood.

The gist of the reform, as far as what can be grasped from the proposal, is that pupils at the early childhood, primary, and secondary levels will make their subject selections based on their desired future career goals. The underlying assumption, therefore, is that these pupils will be given adequate career guidance.

Firstly, if this interpretation is correct, then why is tertiary level education not included? One would think that all levels of education should be reformed in order to add efficiency to the entirety of the education sector.

Secondly, is it a good idea to get rid of generalised education from the early childhood stage? It makes more sense — at least from a layman's point of view — to offer general education that is on par with international standards. It is the responsibility of the education system to provide opportunities for an individual to specialise his/her education via strategically crafted curricula that are tailored to the skills demanded in the local and international job markets.

There was also a noticeable omission of what role educators will play in “meeting the needs” of students and how the former will be sufficiently trained and equipped. The ministry should expound upon this reformation plan for a better understanding by the general public.

The Writer




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